The blog.


The 3rd edition of Accra Marathon to take place on October 7

With a purpose of bringing people together to express freedom, togetherness and passion through running in the vibrant landscape of a beautiful African City the Accra Marathon represents a continental drive to promote the Sustainable development Goal number 3, Good health and wellbeing.

The third edition of the Accra marathon which was launched on September 7th by the Accra Mayor, Mr. Mohammed Adjei Sowah is to take off on the 7th of October with about ten thousand expected participants, participating in categories such as para-cycling, 5km and 21km races and also the CEO and elite challenge.

The event which is organized by Accra Marathon, an organization which is versed in the management of international running programs with the Accra Metropolitan Assembly playing a pivotal role in the event. According to Mr. Mohammed Adjei Sowah the event will be used to promote fitness and a healthy vibrant city, all towards the goal of making Accra the cleanest and healthiest city in Africa. Ghana’s premium gold hub company, Menzgold  is also on board as lead sponsors supporting this worthy course. Supported by  GNPC, GCB, Coral Paints, Rana Motors, Papaye, MTN, Total Ghana, Goil Ghana, Gridco, BS5, Twillium Ghana, Tang Palace Hotel, DDP, IPMC, AMS, Wigal,  Ghana Shippers Council and Millennium Insurance.

This year’s event promises to be not just a fitness exercise but also exciting and entertaining as social figures and other prominent figures have taken up the mayor’s challenge which he threw out on the launch date to the deputy minister of sport, Mr. Pius Enam Hadidze as well as other public figures to promote fitness and health. Okyeame Kwame has responded to the mayor’s challenge boosting the excitement and anticipation for the event.

Mr. Ashim Morton, Chairman of Accra Marathon who over the years has worked tirelessly to ensure a well –managed marathon and also maintained sponsors and brought on new ones to believe in the brand, and continue to support the brand. He promises his auspices have put in place a more thrilling and exiting package this year and he entreats people to come out in their numbers and run their way to a better and healthier life.

Registration is already underway and interested persons can register www.accramarathon.com or the AMA Head Office and Frankies in Osu.

This year’s theme is Accra, A VIBRANT AND SMART CITY.

7 Africans feature on the BBC 100 Women list 2017

The BBC has revealed some of the inspirational individuals who have been chosen for inclusion on the BBC 100 Women list 2017. This year, out of the sixty women listed, seven are African

Taken from across all spheres of modern life – from engineering to the creative industries, from sport to business – they represent the global wealth of female talent. But in a new twist the list launched is only part of the story.  

The list has been inspired by the BBC 100 Women Challenge. New for 2017 this is a unique celebration of female talent which sees four teams of women tasked with finding solutions to everyday problems currently blighting female lives across the globe. From October 2nd – 6th women based in Silicon Valley will tackle the glass ceiling; from October 9th -13th the Delhi team are looking at female illiteracy; from October 16th -20th safety on public transport will be the focus for the  London and Nairobi team; and finally from October 23rd -27th women in Rio will consider sexism in sport.

Today 60 women who are working or campaigning in these fields or who have inspired others through their actions are being celebrated.

These include:

  • Astronaut Peggy Whitson (57) –  Having made three trips to the International Space Station, Peggy has spent more time in space than any other United States astronaut.
  • President of Chile Michelle Bachelet (65) – The first female to hold office in the history of her country.
  • President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (78) – the 24th and current President of Liberia since 2006 and the first elected female head of state in Africa.
  • Dancer, TV star and business owner Jin Xing (50) – Known as China’s answer to Oprah Winfrey, Jin Xing was the first transgender woman in China to receive government approval for gender reassignment.
  • Footballer Steph Houghton (29) – Captain of Manchester City FC and the England women’s football team.
  • Acid attack survivor Resham Khan (21) – UK student blogging about her recovery
  • Harvard social psychologist and bestselling author Amy Cuddy (45) – known for her research on body language. She delivered the second most-viewed TED talk of all time.
  • Politician and entrepreneur Susi Pudjiastuti (52) – A successful entrepreneur, Susi is also Indonesia’s Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.
  • UK activist Liz Kelly (65) – active in the field of violence against women and children for 40 years, professor of sexualised violence at London Metropolitan University, where she is also director of the Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit.
  • Education entrepreneur Anne-Marie Imafidon (28)  – CEO & ‘Head Stemette’ at Stemettes seeking to inspire the next generation of women to go into science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
  • Canadian teacher Maggie MacDonnell (37) – winner of the US $1million Global Teacher Prize 2017.
  • Singer-songwriter Tiwa Savage (37) – integral member of the Afrobeats scene and Nigerian philanthropist.
  • Broadcaster and activist Adelle Onyango (28) – Kenyan radio and television host seeking to empower young women through mentorship and apprenticeship programmes.
  • Author and poet Rupi Kaur (24) Canadian-Indian author and illustrator writes on themes including love, loss, trauma, healing and femininity.
  • Cricketer Mithali Raj (34) – Captain of Indian Women’s Cricket Team
  • Disability Rights Activist Virali Modi (25) – campaigning to make railways more accessible to disabled women in India.

Comedian, model and disability rights campaigner Nawaal Akram (18) – founder of Muscular Dystrophy Middle East, and promotes rights for women with disabilities in the Middle East.

The remaining 40 places will then be decided as the challenge progresses, drawn from those who have supported, inspired and helped the teams on the ground over the course of the weeks. They might be someone working on a solution on the other side of the world; the woman who suggested the piece of code; the woman who named the campaign; or the woman who, by courageously sharing her story, inspired the solution.

The list of 60 women can be viewed here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-41380265.The complete list will then be revealed after the final challenge at the end of October.

As audience participation is a cornerstone of the challenge, there is opportunity for other inspiring women to be included. The teams will want to hear directly from women affected by the issues they are tackling and find out what solutions may have already been tried. Viewers and listeners will be able to get involved in via social media with @BBC100Women and #100Women, online at www.bbc.com/100women .

E.L announces new single ‘Pay Like A Boss’

Over the last few months, E.L has dropped a steady string of singles. The year commenced with ‘Agbo’, followed by ‘See Me Sometime’, then the club banger ‘Abaa’, and just a few weeks ago, ‘Namaway’ featuring, Stonebwoy.

We are almost ending the year and E.L doesn’t seem to be running out of steam. After recently releasing the banger with Stonebwoy, the 2015 VGMA Artist of the Year has announced on social media, an imminent single off the WAVs album, titled ‘PAY LIKE A BOSS’.

We particularly can’t wait till WAVs (West African Vibes) drop, but till then we will bob to ‘Pay Like A Boss’ and any other stream of singles we are fortunate to be blessed with thereafter.

Anxious to hear the new record? Yea, us too.

Check out the artwork and brace yourself for a beautiful experience.

The Future of Ghana 2017 Publication Released!

Friday 22 September 2017 saw the long-awaited release of the 2017 Future of Ghana publication. The no.1 online publication for young Ghanaian professionals is back with its third edition packed full with some of the most relevant content for our generation.

Take a look inside and meet the precocious Fencing talent that is UK based Yasmine Fosu fighting for Ghana a level playing field. You will also find intimate exclusive interviews from contemporary self-taught artist Sarah Owusu and the founder of Vitae London, William Adoasi.

Learn how our German Association Branch Future of Ghana Germany is taking our mission to the people of Germany, plus full profiles of the entire Future of Ghana top 30 U30 for 2017. Additional articles in line with Ghana’s 60th year of independence include; a look at how we can preserve our history in the digital age and a candid assessment of Kwame Nkrumah’s impact in Ghana.

This is essential reading for the last quarter of the year!

Following the release Top 30 U30 list back in March, we revealed a diverse range of talent, pioneers and changemakers from Ghana and the diaspora. There was strong representation from countries in the diaspora such as the UK, Canada, and the USA. This year’s Top 30 list also saw an even split between genders for the first time ever.

Among the pioneers included were Koby “Posty” Hagan founder of UK Urban Entertainment platform GRM Daily , Ghana based digital entrepreneur and founder of the Circumspecte platform Jemila Abdulai,  Ghanaian Media Influencer and Radio/TV Personality Antoine Mensah and  of course rising fencing star Yasmine Fosu to name but a few, whom you can all read about in this publication.

The Third edition of the publication will transcend stereotypes, highlighting the unsung contributions of future leaders to Ghana’s development driving the conversation around Ghana’s future development in this diamond jubilee year of Independence.

Me Firi Ghana annually produce the Future of Ghana publication which celebrates excellence by recognising the Top 30 under 30 talent of Ghanaian decent, pioneering in industries around the world. The publication also features forward thinking articles highlighting key industries, innovators and organizations visions for Ghana and Africa.

The Publication is the beginning and one that we hope will act as a catalyst to encourage greater youth participation with the development of Ghana whilst also act as a visual source of inspiration for the emerging generation and a talent resource for investors and organizations.

E.L performs for Studio 189 at New York Fashion Week

After hitting the first show off his E.L Live Tour in Minnesota, rapper E.L flew over to New York for the city’s Fashion Week.

The Best African Rapper (B.A.R) thrilled some super models in the middle of the presentation. Studio 189 surprised attendees with a full-blown concert, which got everybody dancing to the rhythm of E.L’s Afrobeat music. Even Dawson joined in, busting some moves with Paula Abdul.

The models then featured the line by standing in groups, while talking and dancing with one another. The participants included people of all ages, ethnicities and colors. ”It’s all about inclusiveness”, Erwiah said at the beginning of the event.

Actress, Rosario Dawson also debuted her latest Studio 189 collection at the Fashion Week with a special touch. Upon entering the event held at Metropolitan West, the invitees found that there were no traditional seats – stones replaced seats! – and staff members roamed around, sampling pieces from the collection. Dawson began the show by asking for a moment of silence to remember those affected by the attacks on 9/11. She followed in with a video about Studio 189’s social justice work and the impact it’s having in Africa.

The clothing stayed true to an African aesthetic with bright colors, light fabrics, and native prints.

E.L who is already working on his new album indeed set the place ablaze with his Afrobeat songs. The ‘Koko’ hitmaker is currently on tour in the states to promote his upcoming album ”WAVs” (West African Vibes) which is due for release later this year.

NEW RESEARCH SHOWS IMPACT OF GHANA’S FIRST INTERACTIVE DISTANCE LEARNING EDUCATION PROGRAMME

Pupils benefiting from MGCubed programme reading more words more minute and are one year ahead of their peers in maths tests

New research to be published shows the extensive impact an innovative distance-learning programme is having on the educational attainment and life chances of marginalised girls and boys in Ghana.

Making Ghanaian Girls Great! (MGCubed), a three-year pilot project funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) and run by the Varkey Foundation, is the first project in the country to use interactive distance learning technology to deliver Maths and English lessons daily to more than 10,000 girls – and boys – in 72 government schools in some of the most deprived communities.

The schools – in Volta (Nkwanta South and Kadjebi districts) and Greater Accra (Ada East, Ada West, Ningo Prampram and Shai Osu-Doku districts) – are equipped with solar panels and a satellite connection in order to link with live broadcasts of lessons from highly-qualified teachers, using internationally-approved teaching methods, from a studio in Accra.

Independent evaluation of MGCubed conducted by Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), to be unveiled at a major education conference in Zambia later today, shows the model has had a significant impact on increasing literacy and numeracy skills among marginalised girls.

·      In literacy tests, MGCubed students were able to read between 3.21-3.74 more words per minute than those in regular classes; and

·      in numeracy tests MGCubed teaching has been found to increase average scores by the equivalent of one school year.

In addition to the in-school classes, MGCubed delivers an after-school girls’ club called ‘Wonder Women’ to up to 50 girls per school, including out-of-school girls. The sessions cover topics such as early pregnancy, early marriage, reproductive health, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, career guidance and the environment as well as introducing girls to adult role models. The goal is to encourage girls to stay in or return to school, and  raise their aspirations for their futures.

MGCubed facilitators – either female teaching staff already at the schools, or female volunteers from the community – receive training in best-practice pedagogy to enable them to facilitate the in-school distance learning lessons and the after-school lessons, providing a critical link back into the communities to help reinforce the positive attitudinal changes towards girls’ education that the intervention hopes to achieve.

Internal research conducted by the Varkey Foundation, also to be published for the first time today, shows that, in addition to the literacy and numeracy improvements:

·      Teachers are more motivated to do their job. Teacher motivation is high, as evidenced by low absenteeism – the rate of teacher absenteeism in MGCubed classes was found to be just 0.5% over the whole project.

·      The project is correlated with improved class attendance. Data collected by staff until June 2016 indicates that over the course of the project, average attendance in MGCubed classrooms increased by nearly 7%.

·      MGCubed is having a spillover effect on classroom instruction. MGCubed facilitators do not restrict their improved knowledge and skills to the MGCubed classrooms, but have been found to employ MGCubed strategies in “regular” classes.  Over three-quarters of facilitators interviewed stated that they used starter activities and nearly three-quarters group work.

·      MGCubed has increased participation and motivation in school, beyond its principal pupil beneficiaries. In in-depth interviews with girls, nearly 70% of respondents noted a change in the way the MGCubed facilitator teaches in a non-MGCubed class. Key changes include a reduction in caning, with a third of girls voluntarily reporting that teachers in MGCubed classes did not use the cane.  Other reported changes include teachers “taking their time” or being more patient (23%). Over 40% of pupils cited the use of group work/pair work/”joining in” activities as their favourite aspect of the project because they were able to learn from peers and “discuss freely” rather than “feel shy”. Of the 230 feedback surveys in which facilitators were recorded as saying they used MGCubed techniques in their classrooms, 100% made an explicit reference to pupils in their classes being more engaged, performing better, and working well as a group.

·      MGCubed has raised levels of self-esteem, with an increase in girls who volunteer for leadership positions, and a 14% increase in girls who volunteer to answer questions during MGCubed lessons.

The research findings will be announced today by Leonora Dowley, the Varkey Foundation’s Country Director for Ghana, at the Forum for African Women Educationalists 2017 conference in Lusaka, Zambia.

Leonora Dowley said: “This new research shows MGCubed’s interactive distance learning model has been incredibly effective at increasing literacy and numeracy skills for disadvantaged girls and boys. 

“In addition, it is improving girls’ life chances by combatting deep-seated cultural values about girls and their educational potential.

“The results are also testament to the efforts of the Ghana Education Service, including its Girls’ Education Unit, who have worked closely with the Varkey Foundation to design the programme and monitor activity in schools.”

She Leads Africa is bringing its signature travelling boot camp “The SheHive” back to London!

The SheHive is a must-attend event for any woman of colour who’s determined to build the skills and networks needed to achieve professional/entrepreneurial success. It’s a platform to brainstorm with like-minded individuals and connect with opportunities on the African continent, and it’s coming to London September 21st – 24th!

SLA has hosted previous versions of this event in cities including Accra, Abuja, New York, Nairobi, London, Lagos, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Washington DC, and Toronto. Their SheHive in London in 2016 (hosted in partnership with Facebook) was live streamed by BBC Africa.

Some of the amazing speakers who’ll be sharing their secrets to success include:

  • Afua Hirsch, Social Affairs and Education editor for Sky News and previous correspondent for The Guardian
  • Emeka and Ifeyinwa Frederick, co-founders of Chuku’s London
  • Eryca Freemantle, Global beauty ambassador, product developer and TV personality
  • Khalia Ismain, founder of Jamii
  • Mariatu Turay, founder of Gitas Portal Fashion Boutique
  • Nicole Pretorius, co-founder of tech startup She Can Code
  • Jacqueline Shaw, founder of Africa Fashion Guide

And more! Full schedule here.

We promise you’ll walk away from #SheHiveLondon with new business development skills, a fuller contact list, and the motivation to go out and SLAY with the support of the entire SheHive Squad behind you.

Get your tickets and more info at sheleadsafrica.org/shehivelondon2017 !

And there’s a special discount exclusively for MeFiri Ghana community! Use the code “diaspora” to get 20% off tickets here

Nuclear science and technology is not new to Ghana

Nuclear technology has a long track record of positively contributing to global social and economic development. For more than 70-years nuclear research reactors have proven to be cornerstones of innovation in the global development of science and technology.

The African continent is no exception, the continent has 10 out of more than 240 research reactors operating globally. In 2009, Africa passed a milestone of half century of involvement with nuclear technology, dating from the initial criticality of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s first research reactor (RR) at the University of Kinshasa. The construction of Congolese RR ushered in a new era of scientific development in Africa.

Africa’s RRs are a vital component of the evolving role nuclear science and technology play in the development of society. These reactors have significantly contributed to the scientific progress made in a wide range of spheres. Moreover, RRs are an indispensable tool in the education and training of future Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) operators and engineers as well for the production of scientifically and technologically important materials, such as radioisotopes. These reactors are also used for testing new types of nuclear fuel and studying the radiation resistance of new materials and electronic devices.

For instance, South Africa can be considered a true role model for emerging countries on how nuclear science innovations can be employed to improve the quality of human lives. The SAFARI-1 RR, one of Africa’s first 20 MW research reactors, which already marked its 50-year milestone, successfully provides high quality products and services for domestic and international needs. Being the only nuclear research unit in SA the SAFARI-1 reactor is renowned as one of the leading producers of medical isotopes in the world, in particular molybdenum-99, which is a key isotope used in 40-million diagnostic procedures per annum worldwide. It is estimated that medical products, produced by the SAFARI-1, are used in approximately 10 million medical procedures in more than 60 countries per year, saving countless lives.

Nuclear innovations from Africa have made it possible to eliminate a range of harmful pests, which previously destroyed entire crops of fruits such as oranges and grapefruit. Due to nuclear technologies the tsetse fly no longer poses serious risk to famers and cattle in many previously effected regions. Moreover, nuclear techniques have enabled the increased productivity of the agricultural sector in many regions which has reflected positively on farmer’s incomes.

Ghana has successfully been operating its RR since 1994, apart from research purposes, the Ghanaian RR is utilized in support of the oil and aluminum manufacturing industries. The reactor is also used in geochemistry and hydrochemistry, soil fertility studies as well as mineral exploration.

Global experience of using nuclear technologies has shown that the research units are also widely applied for environmental monitoring and pollution assessments (air, water, and soil), food and agriculture, health, medicine and pharmaceuticals.

Nuclear-derived technologies, have for instance, helped the Central African Republic’s researchers to detect rich bodies of water in the deserts of Sahel. This region is a home to roughly 135 million people, whose biggest challenge is access to clear water, which is essential not only for drinking, but also for food production and sanitation.

In recent years, more and more African countries have seen the substantial benefits of modern nuclear technologies and realized that large-scale national nuclear programmes are able to stimulate sustainable and dynamic development in other important spheres, such as industry, agriculture and medicine.

Research reactors have the potential to adjust nuclear technologies for social development. For instance the production of medical isotopes to treat cancer and other diseases would not be possible without research reactors.

According to the World Health Organization, cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, and the rate of cancer cases is expected to rise. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, more than half million people die from cancer every year. Such a tragic tendency can be considerably leveled down by the availability of nuclear medicine, through the development specialized local isotope production facilities and medical centres.

The establishment Ghana’s RR made it possible for the country to open a radiotherapy centre in collaboration with the IAEA. With the help of the radioisotope production facility the radiotherapy center has proven to be highly effective not only for Ghanaian citizens, but also for cancer patients from neighboring countries. The center treats nearly 15 000 patients per year.

Prior to the centre, Ghanaian cancer patients had to travel abroad to India, the Americas and Europe to access treatment. A second center in Kumasi was established in 2004 again in collaboration with the IAEA, whilst the Swedish Ghana Medical center in Accra, a private venture was established in 2013. All three facilities in the country have capabilities for 3-Dimensional treatment planning.

Today there are only three radiotherapy centers in the country which do not cope with growing cancer incidence. In order to increase the efficiency rate of cancer treatment, Ghana needs more centers in different regions of the country to treat the growing number of patients.

The National Centre for Radiotherapy in Accra experiences some challenges. On average, 1200 new cancer cases are referred to the facility every year with about 70% requiring radiation treatment, however, less than 50% of these patients complete their treatment.

A shortage of skilled man power in the Centre hampers the full potential of the establishment and limits the delivery of state of the art radiation treatment aimed at improving outcomes and reducing side effects.

The modernization of the research facility and the construction of a Center of Nuclear Science and Technology will certainly have a positive effect for Ghana’s social and economic development.

BBC News broadcasts a week of special programming on Africa’s rising population

BBC News have announced a week-long series exploring the steep incline in Africa’s population and the continent’s coping mechanisms.

The population of Africa is predicted to double to two and a half billion in just 30 years. On a continent where nearly two thirds of people are already under 25, this vast new baby boom has the potential to provide a huge pool of workers ready to transform African economies, or the potential to create an even greater migration problem.

BBC Africa Correspondent, Alastair Leithead, has been investigating the potential of this “demographic dividend” in a series of special reports from across Africa.

For a week, beginning Monday 21st AugustBBC World News and BBC World Service will broadcast daily features within Focus on Africa, looking at matters such as the rapid urbanisation in Nigeria, the industrial revolution in Ethiopia, contraception in Niger and food sustainability in Kenya.

From Monday, more information can also be found on bbc.com/africapopulation, including a written in-depth analysis, a series of short videos and additional features.

A special documentary, Africa’s Population Explosion, will also broadcast on BBC World News(DStv 400) at 2330 GMT on Friday 25th August and 1130 & 1630 GMT on Saturday 26th August.

 

The Power of Fabrication and Hoax on Social Media

The potency of hoax and fabricated news has been prevalent in WhatsApp and other social media. From India alone, not less than one million messages and video news are sent to WhatsApp and other social media every month. Only about 150 messages and videos are said to be true. The rest are fabrications and hoax. Such news items have a wide reach. Depending on the news, readers and viewers who fail to see them as hoax either get scared, startled or experience a feeling of insecurity. Not many are able to determine very early that the news items are just fabrications. Almost every country, including Ghana, has had its share of such hoax news on social media.

We all woke up one day to read on WhatsApp that former president of Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings had passed away at 69. The news spread quickly on all social media. When the news of the alleged death reached Rawlings he was upset about this fabrication which did not help anyone.

Michael Essien, former midfielder of Chelsea and Black Stars, was reported dead. The news was on WhatsApp, Facebook and other social media that Essien was involved in a fatal accident in Indonesia where he plays for a local club, Persib Bandung. Sadness engulfed Ghanaians and lovers of football worldwide only to find out that the news was a hoax.

Ghanaians were shocked when they heard the news of the disappearance of Ghana’s rap artist, Castro, and another lady. As Ghanaians were trying to come to terms with the mysterious disappearance, news came around that Castro was still alive. The one that took WhatsApp and other social media by storm was the confirmation of a lawyer who was interviewed at Adom FM that Castro was under intensive care in a hospital in Lomé, Togo’s capital city. A funeral that was supposed to be held by Castro’s family was halted. A group was sent to that particular hospital the lawyer was referring to. Castro was not there. The news was a mere fabrication and a hoax.

These days many funny sayings shared on social media have been attributed to Robert Mugabe. In the beginning, people believed that Mugabe actually said those things since the man is used to saying controversial but brilliant things. But when they were becoming too many, people realised they were false news. Zimbabwean government officials formally issued a statement denying that Mugabe said such things. Here are two of my most popular “Mugabe sayings”: 1. Girls who are called Monica like money and cars. 2. Dear ladies, if your boyfriends did not wish you a Happy Mother’s day or sing sweet Mother for you, you should stop breastfeeding them. Of course, Mugabe didn’t say these things. Dear reader, what is your favourite Mugabe saying?

Such social media fabrications are sometimes used by industrialised countries to undermine the progress of other countries’ economy. A devastating news item was carried on WhatsApp claiming that China is now producing and bagging rice made of plastic material. Many were fast to authenticate the claim on videos to demonstrate how the rice looks like when it is cooked. The Chinese contend that if what people are claiming is true why is the World Health Organization (WHO) silent?

The Chinese claim this fabrication was designed by the Americans who, according to the Chinese, are obviously scared by the fast rate of development and progress of the country. The Chinese decided to pay back in the same coin and put the Americans to shame. Soon a video that shocked the world was making rounds on social media. The video showed a truck loaded with human cadavers in front of a McDonald’s outlet. The Chinese claim the dead bodies are mashed in machines and used for the burgers which are distributed to all McDonald’s restaurants. When this horrific video came out, about 25% of visitors who patronized the restaurant, it was reported, stopped eating at McDonalds. The directors denied this claim as a mere fabrication.

There was another video claiming the Chinese were now eating aborted babies and even full babies who are sold by their parents. According to the narrator, foetus and embryos have been made into soup for human consumption. It is believed the Chinese are eating this to increase health, stamina and sexual performance. The media war between America and China is still going on. This fits well in the Ghanaian parlance, “if you do me, I do you”.

Immediately after the 2016 US election, the potency of fabricated and hoax news came into focus. Fake news on the elections began to appear on social media during the run-up to the ballot. The first put Mrs Clinton in a comfortable lead. When the reality of the election dawned on Americans, another news item that was clearly fabricated appeared on social media that Donald Trump had hacked into the electoral commission’s computer system to add more votes. This news drew more attention than any other news in the major news media in the United States. This turned out to be mere fabrication.

Often, people make up their own wisdom words and attribute them to famous persons. One of the most serious ones appeared a few years ago about the last words of Apple founder, Steve Jobs, in which he regretted having spent all his life looking for money but not having time to spend it. The passage was so long and detailed that nobody on his dying bed, in the throes of pain, drifting between life and death, could possibly have said those things as his last words. It was purely fake news.

WhatsApp, Facebook and other social media should be used with much care and circumspection. Not all news published in these media can be taken as true and authentic and therefore such news that smack of fabrication and hoax should not be shared. Some are true but many are not.  There was a humorous message I received some time ago telling me the food items that are dangerous to my health. It was a very long list that contained all the food items that I can possibly think of ever eating in my life. It was when I was going to complain and ask which food items are left for me to eat that I realised it was a joke – no food item is good for your health so the best thing is not to eat anything at all and starve to death! I appreciated the joke. But what about those who don’t see the humour?

Because of advances in picture and video editing programmes, it is easy even for amateurs to create false pictures and videos. We have to be careful about the things shared on social media and how we believe in them. Often, when you read something that is asking you to share it with others, you must be suspicious. You must check and check again to see if it is genuine. Fortunately, there are many websites that are devoted to debunking false social media messages. Anytime you have your doubts, just go online and check if it is not another hoax to make your life terrible. Never share a story you are not sure of.

By Stephen Atta Owusu
Author: Dark Faces at Crossroads